Clearing out the notebook of things I have been told and have witnessed:
1. Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells likes to make the point that he is neither the Dolphins coach nor general manager. Not his job, he says. Tony Sparano is the coach and Jeff Ireland is the GM. And while Parcells isn't actually going to be on the sideline coaching, he definitely is serving as GM, casting an immense shadow over Ireland.
When it came time to make the decisions on the Jason Taylor deal this week, it was Parcells making the call. When Redskins executive Vinny Cerrato went looking for a defensive end to replace Phillip Daniels, he called Parcells not Ireland. He negotiated with Parcells, not Ireland.
"We went out to practice at 3 p.m., and I talked to Bill Parcells probably like three times on the practice field, back and forth," Cerrato told ESPN radio on Monday. "We went and discussed some different terms, we came in after practice, talked to 3 or 4 of the veterans players, and asked them what they thought, what type of guy and everything Taylor is and they said great guy. Everything was positive. I called Parcells back around 6:15 and told him, we'll do the deal. We faxed papers back and forth, got Jason Taylor on the phone and we were done."
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Parcells was so in charge of the deal, he even told Cerrato: "All right, I'll fax you the paperwork. It's done."
I don't think any of us should have a problem with any of this. I think everyone can agree Parcells has a reputation that Ireland doesn't yet have and his experience also trumps the young GM's experience. But let's drop the pretenses, shall we?
The Dolphins, for whatever reason, continue to insist that Parcells is a shadow contributor while Ireland is the decision-maker. When the team finally got around to confirming the trade the entire Western Hemisphere knew had been made hours earlier, they released quotes from Wayne Huizenga and Ireland. I can understand Huizenga's statement was necessary because the owner has a history with Taylor, a long-time contributor. But if teams are speaking almost exclusively to Parcells, if the rest of the NFL understand Parcells is running the show, don't Miami fans deserve to hear from him?
Everyone knows Parcells is the ultimate decision-maker, deal-maker, and lord of all football realms in Miami. Teams around the league have no problem acknowledging it. Wish the Dolphins would.
2. As I reported yesterday, the Dolphins were involved with a couple of teams on the Taylor front. New Orleans and the Giants were involved with Miami in some talks and it should come as no surprise those two teams made a trade today, sending tight end Jeremy Shockey to New Orleans for multiple draft picks.
Apparently, New Orleans coach Sean Payton was so eager to get Shockey, he tried to involve the Dolphins in a three-way deal with New York. The Saints would get Shockey, the Giants would have gotten Jason Taylor and the Dolphins woul have gotten draft picks.
I cannot confirm how far those talks went (not far enough, apparently) but one source tells me earlier this offseason the Giants and Dolphins were talking about making a Shockey for Taylor deal. That conversation obviously didn't go very far either, but geez, doesn't that deal sound a whole lot more palatable for Miami than what it eventually got for Taylor?
Shockey for Taylor? Maybe I'm showing my love for The U -- yeah I've got a Miami license plate on one of my cars -- but I would have loved this trade. A 27-year-old Pro Bowl tight end trumps a 2009 second round pick any day in my book. And a 27-year-old Pro Bowl tight end for a 33-year-old defensive end sounds like a good deal for Miami.
But I guess the Dolphins (Parcells) decided he didn't want the New York malcontent coming to his Miami team and possibly, you know, ruining the great offensive chemistry the Dolphins already have in their passing game. Plus why would anyone want to upgrade over David Martin?
I understand the minuses of getting Shockey, but I see a lot on the plus side that the future draft pick doesn't offer.
3. Anybody notice how everyone in this whole JT saga pretty much lost credibility with things they said?
Parcells in March: "The only way Jason Taylor does not play for the Dolphins is if he retires. The team is not going to trade him."
Taylor in June: "I told the Dolphins my intentions from Day One. My intentions are to play one more year."
Um, in case you haven't noticed, Taylor was traded Sunday contrary to what Parcells said. And Taylor immediately told the Redskins he would be happy to play out the remaining two years of his current contract and left open the possibility of signing a new deal after that.
4. Taylor had not talked to former Miami teammate, brother-in-law and new rival Zach Thomas as of Monday afternoon. "I'll see Zach in a different way now," Taylor said at his press conference Monday afternoon. "He made me a better player over the years. But now he's with the Cowboys and those aren't good words around here."
5. Taylor, who reads this blog religiously and was upset with moi when I suggested he
lied danced around requesting a trade, is concerned about his legacy with Miami fans.
"You always worry about perception because sometimes it can become reality for some people," Taylor said. "When the media starts to paint a picture a certain way, you can't address everything. There are so many blogs and writers out now that you can't address everything. And sometimes the perception becomes so big that it disappoints you. And sometimes you have to look at the body of work. He's done this for so long and this is the kind of guy he is. He's done it this way, week in and week out and year in and year out so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because you can't address everything."
5. The Dolphins get a very nice cap relief after trading Taylor. The just cleared something on the order of $7-7.5 million. That means they have approximately $21 million under the cap. Now they can go out and shop aggressively in free agency ... or not.